Objections to Administrators
When a person dies without a Will, the probate court will appoint a person to administer the estate. This person is known as an administrator. In Georgia, the court will typically appoint an administrator from the following people: the first entitled is the surviving spouse; then an heir selected by the majority of all heirs; any other eligible person; any creditor of the estate; or a county administrator. O.C.G.A. § 53-6-20. Since the probate court appoints the administrator, an heir cannot simply fire her.
Similar to an objection to an executor, a beneficiary can object to the administrator if the person does not agree with the administrator’s appointment or actions in handling the estate. A beneficiary can base objections on two different arguments. First, the beneficiary can argue that the administrator lacks the capacity to administer the estate, and therefore should not be appointed to the role. The second common argument centers on the actions of the administrator, and states that the administrator acted against the interest of the beneficiaries. Under each instance, the beneficiary must file an objection to an administrator and provide proof at trial.
What you can do if you object to the appointed administrator?
There are many different actions to take if you think that an objection to the administrator is appropriate in your case.
- Begin by determining whether the administrator lacks capacity to administer the estate. If you have proof that the administrator has a severe physical or mental incapacitation, or has committed an action that prevents her from carrying out the duties as administrator, then the probate judge may remove her.
- Consider whether the administrator has acted against the best interests of the beneficiaries in administering the estate. This can happen when an administrator acts dishonestly or uses the position to benefit her own interests. If you have proof of any such actions, then the probate judge may disqualify the administrator.
- The final step is to contact an experienced probate attorney to file the objection to the administrator. Following the filing, the attorney can also represent you at the hearing.
The attorneys at our firm are experienced in filing and representing parties when an objection to an administrator is appropriate. If you believe that an objection should be filed, have any questions, or would like to get started, call our office at (404) 939-7562 or contact us online for a free consultation.